Inhofe Comments on EPA's CASAC Nominees
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, sent a letter Wednesday to Gina McCarthy, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), commenting on the list of candidates nominated to serve on the EPA’s chartered Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC).
“As you know, I have long expressed concerns over the composition of previously appointed CASAC panels, but I am hopeful you will use this opportunity to appoint an expert that will bring much needed balance and integrity to CASAC,” Inhofe said in the letter.
Inhofe continue, “EPA’s record for ensuring geographic diversity on its advisory panels has been lacking under the Obama Administration. As for the current seven-member chartered CASAC; there are no members from EPA Regions 2, 4, 6, 7, or 8. In fact, over the course of this Administration, EPA has not appointed a single person from EPA Regions 6, 7, or 8 to serve on the chartered CASAC. . . . there is no reason for EPA to overlook well-qualified candidates from these areas that would clearly balance the panel with respect to geographic diversity.”
“In addition, EPA must take into account concerns over the lack of fresh perspectives on the chartered CASAC when assessing the balance of the panel. For instance, the current chartered CASAC includes four of seven members that previously served on the chartered CASAC. . . In the interest of showing a good faith effort to ensure fresh perspectives and balance on the panel, I urge you to choose among the other expert candidates whom have not served on the chartered CASAC.”
CASAC is the seven-member federal advisory committee tasked with providing the EPA Administrator independent scientific advice related to the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS).
On June 24, 2016, Inhofe sent a letter to EPA Acting Assistant Administrator Janet McCabe and Deputy Assistant Administrator Thomas Burke requesting the Agency fully inform CASAC of its statutory responsibilities as it begins review of the NAAQS for particulate matter.
On April 29, 2016, Inhofe sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy calling for greater transparency and public input on EPA appointments to scientific advisory panels, including CASAC.
On Feb. 2, Inhofe sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy questioning EPA’s process for selecting members of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC).
On June 4, 2015, Inhofe and U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), issued a statement on a requested Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, which included several recommendations for EPA to improve procedures at the Science Advisory Board (SAB) and identified concerns with CASAC’s failure to provide advice on adverse social, economic or energy effects related to the NAAQS.
On May 20, 2015, the EPW Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management, and Regulatory Oversight, chaired by U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) held a hearing to conduct oversight of EPA’s scientific advisory panels, including CASAC, and to review of S. 543, The Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2015.
On Feb. 19, 2014, Inhofe and U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) sent a letter to Arthur Elkins, EPA’s Inspector General (IG), regarding weaknesses in the 2013 Office of Inspector General (OIG) report on CASAC. Specifically, Inhofe and Vitter raised concerns about the scope of the review, findings, and recommendations outlined in the report.
On Dec. 19, 2011, Inhofe sent a letter to Arthur Elkins, EPA IG, requesting the OIG investigate CASAC’s peer review of unpublished EPA studies and reanalysis of other published studies that EPA cited in documents underpinning the NAAQS.
On Aug. 4, 2011, Inhofe sent a letter to Arthur Elkins, EPA IG, requesting the OIG investigate concerns with CASAC regarding a lack of impartiality of committee members, failure to balance perspectives, failure to rotate members, and to avoid financial conflicts of interest.
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